Common Causes Of Manual Handling Injuries – A Guide
Welcome to our article discussing common causes of manual handling injuries. In this guide, we take a look at injuries that could be caused by manual handling tasks, meaning transporting or supporting a load by hand or bodily force, which could include lifting, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying or moving loads.
We also take a closer look at workplace accidents themselves, and how an employer failing to follow health and safety legislation could result in an employee suffering manual handling injuries. Employers have a duty to prevent manual handling injuries; if they fail to do this by breaching health and safety laws, they could be liable for any injuries that result.
As the guide progresses, we discuss the duty of care employers owe their employees and the relevant legislation that enforces it.
We also discuss what an employer can do to reasonably prevent common causes of manual handling injuries. We end by highlighting common errors when it comes to manual handling tasks.
If you’ve been injured in a manual handling accident at work, you may have the right to claim compensation. Get in touch with our team for free advice and you can find out if one of our expert personal injury solicitors could help you on a No Win No Fee basis. Reach us through any of these routes:
- Call 0800 073 8804.
- Fill out our ‘claim online’ form.
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Select A Section
- Common Causes Of Manual Handling Injuries
- Common Manual Handling Injuries?
- What Are The Signs Or Symptoms Of Manual Handling Injuries
- What Role Do Employers Have In Reducing Common Causes Of Manual Handling Injuries?
- How Can Workplaces Prevent A Manual Handling Injury?
- Common Manual Handling Mistakes Leading To Accidents
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, puts together annual statistics related to workplace injury and illness. They do this by recording accidents and injuries reported under the Reporting Of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 RIDDOR. When certain reportable workplace accidents or injuries take place, the employer has a responsibility to report these under this law to the HSE. The HSE will then record these and publish the statistics each year.
According to the HSE statistics obtained through RIDDOR, the second-highest cause of non-fatal injuries in 2022/23 was handling, lifting and carrying. This accounted for 17% of overall non-fatal causes of injuries.
Common causes of manual handling injuries, for example:
- No training is given, which means an employee suffers a back injury when they try to lift a heavy load.
- The load has no indication of its actual weight. An employee tries to pick up the load but realises it is too heavy, dropping it on their foot, causing several metatarsal fractures.
- An employee suffers a rotator cuff injury through constant manual handling work without taking any sufficient breaks or rest periods.
Have you been affected by a similar scenario to one of these examples? Call the number above today and learn how, if you have a valid and successful personal injury claim, your settlement could potentially cover the physical pain, mental harm and financial losses caused by a workplace injury. Or continue to read this guide for more advice on common manual handling injuries.
The HSE also public statistics that have been provided from the Labour Force Survey, which is a study of the employment circumstances of the UK population. Key figures for 2022/23 show that 561,000 non-fatal injuries were reported through the Labour Force Survey, with 124,000 causing workers to miss more than seven days of work.
Lifting heavy loads can lead to severe injuries for which a person can be left in chronic pain. 0.5 million workers suffering from work-related musculoskeletal disorders (new or longstanding) in 2022/23 reported by employees to the Labour Force Survey.
Common manual handling injuries include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders.
- Strains and sprains, or other soft tissue injuries.
- Hand injuries, such as broken fingers or other broken bones in the hand.
- Back injuries, spinal damage or slipped discs.
- Shoulder injuries.
- Cuts and lacerations.
- Ankle and foot injuries.
How do you know when you’ve suffered a manual handling injury at work? Sometimes, manual handling accidents will prompt severe and immediate pain with a clear cause. However, that isn’t always the case. Consider the following signs of injury from manual handling activities, for example:
- A back injury could be identified as chronic if the pain does not go away. Severe back pain, coupled with further issues like weak legs and loss of bladder control, could be symptomatic of a very serious affliction.
- A hernia occurs when an internal part of the body pushes through a weak area of the muscle or its surrounding tissue wall.
- Broken bones – according to the NHS, the 3 most common signs of a broken bone are pain, swelling and deformity.
It’s advisable to seek medical advice after an accident or when injured. As well as making sure you get the right attention, a clear record of injuries and symptoms could be useful evidence in a personal injury compensation claim.
Employers might not be able to prevent all manual handling accidents, especially in industries where heavy loads have to be moved by hand or bodily force.
However, Section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that employers must take reasonable and practicable measures to ensure their employees’ safety. A breach of that legal duty of care could leave employees at risk of manual handling-related injuries.
Employers should take further note of The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR), which says in Regulation 4 that, so far as is reasonably practicable, employers should avoid the need for employees to carry out manual handling operations which put them at risk of workplace injury or where it is not reasonably practicable to avoid the need take steps to reduce the risk.
In the event that an incident results from unsafe practices and is reported, the HSE may investigate. Potential HSE enforcement action against an employer breaking workplace safety law could cost the employer money or even see individuals prosecuted.
You could have grounds to make an accident at work compensation claim if you can show that a breach of the duty of care your employer owes you led to your injuries. To find out more about how to make a claim, and how our No Win No Fee solicitors can help you, please call the number above any time.
With the above in mind, what reasonable steps can employers take to prevent common causes of manual handling injuries? There are numerous options for helping lessen the risk of injuries, such as:
- Providing the option of operating machinery to complete a task instead of manual lifting, where possible.
- Performing regular risk assessments should allow employers to highlight hazardous manual handling tasks and put in safety measures.
- Giving appropriate equipment to help with lifting heavy objects, such as protective footwear or gloves. Employers should also remove or repair defective work equipment if they are made aware of an issue.
- Give the right training to teach employees about manual handling work and how to avoid incorrect lifting.
- Removing obstacles and ensuring lighting is adequate.
- Sharing the load between multiple employees if a load is too heavy. Legislation does not set specific weight limits, but the HSE provides manual handling guidance with suggested figures.
- Not giving employees repetitive tasks in order to reduce risk of chronic strain.
Under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers have a duty to the welfare of their employees. However, employees under section 7 of the same Act also owe a duty of care to ensure they take reasonable care for the health and safety of themself and of other persons.
To avoid common causes of manual handling injuries, employees and employers could:
- Check the environment for any manual handling risks posed by obstacles, slippery surfaces or vehicles. Potential lifting accidents could be avoided through a thorough risk assessment.
- The employer should always provide proper training where it is deemed necessary so the employee can do their job safely. The employees should always follow and execute this training correctly to avoid injury to themselves and others.
- Always follow guidance given doing a two-person lift alone is a serious risk of injury. A risk assessment should highlight how many people are needed for a job.
Our dedicated personal injury solicitors can help employees sue their employers for common causes of manual handling injuries if their case is eligible. You can learn more about manual handling claims today by calling, and an advisor could connect you with a solicitor if our free claim assessment shows you have grounds to seek compensation.
A solicitor could take your case under No Win No Fee terms, which means you do not pay for their work if the claim fails.
To reach us:
- Call 0800 073 8804.
- Write to us about your potential claim online so we can call you.
- Use the live chat feature on this page.
Here are some further workplace accident claim guides from our collection:
- If you suffered a back injury caused by no health and safety training, we explain how to claim.
- A look at part-time worker accident claims and what your rights are if you do not work full-time.
- Plenty of detail on how our accident at work solicitors can help you.
- We also have a guide on claiming compensation for a transportation and logistics accident.
Also, try these resources:
- How to report a health and safety concern to the HSE.
- Government advice on how to claim Statutory Sick Pay if you miss work through injury.
- NHS guidance on when to call 999 for injuries.
Thank you for reading our guide on common causes of manual handling injuries. If you have any questions about making a compensation claim for your injuries in the workplace, please call any time.